Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Questions from the Author Fair

Saturday afternoon, seventy Hoosier authors 
met visitors to the Indiana Historical Society's 
12th Annual Holiday Author Fair. 
From noon until four o'clock people streamed 
into Eli Lilly Hall, browsing the varied offerings, 
talking with the authors, and buying books.
Among the more popular authors present was
Bobby "Slick" Leonard, Hoosier basketball legend,
who happily met his many admirers and signed
their copies of his book.
In this case, it's a pleasure to say that the
sports books outsold the offerings from a couple
of the more strident representatives of
a radically conservative leaning, by about two to one.
You go, Slick!

I spent the afternoon seated between a man 
who had written a book about Hoosier prisoners 
at Andersonville, one of the largest of the 
Confederate military prisons of the Civil War, 
and Ed Wenck, whose book
sold out long before the event concluded.
What I found most interesting was the number of 
people who spoke to him who told of murders
in their families, one recounting the slaughter
of an entire household of relatives.
We read every day of random shootings,
of brutalities visited in almost routine fashion
upon people we regard as "others," "not us."
These people, all white, all middle class,
were also carrying around this terrible burden.
Isn't it about time we acknowledged this horror is
just below the surface of our existences,
that we share unspeakable sorrows?
Maybe then we could come together for a way
to lessen the number of these tragedies. 

Most of the visitors were adults, which led me 
to also wonder if we were seeing the last of a generation 
that uses shredded trees as a reading device. 
Myself, I love the smell of ink, the feel of paper 
in my hand, and the look and rhythm 
of a well-designed page. How will it be 
for the ones coming along with e-devices?


William Kendall said...

It looks like it was a good day for the authors!

Speedway said...

It was, William. Scads of people left with totes full of books or stacked under their arms.